I have been experimenting with champaign yeast. Adding it to juices and stuff to convert its sugar to alcohol. Right now I'm fermenting sugar water, one gallon with Champaign yeast and one gallon with regular yeast. Eventually I want to get into making beer but I'm just dipping my toes in with the stuff I'm doing now.
I have been summoned!
Yes, I brew (a lot) of my own beer. There are a few instructional style threads I have posted here with a regular brew day and a cider brew. The cider is a great beginner's recipe.
If you have any questions, ask away! And if you're going to PAX East, look for me and my cooler full of Giant Bomb beer at the panel!
@tourgen: You can actually make some really solid beer using just a 3-5 gallon stock pot and malt extract. The key to brewing with extract is adding half at the start of the boil, then half at the end. It helps avoid the homebrew "twang" that some brewers suffer from. Eventually you just go crazy like me and buy pumps and kegs and 15 gallon kettles and control panels and...
Read a book on fermenting wine, and even started gathering the gear, but the dream fizzled out somehow. Would love to get back into it.
My father manufactured his own (terrible) beer for a time. That was long enough ago that I have no idea what the process was really like, or how it actually tasted. Definitely looks like more of a chemistry project than how basic wine-making equipment does.
We used to make our own wines, but we haven't done that in years. We do make flavoured spirits, but that's not making alcohol, that's taking alcohol and adding flavour to it. We essentially take a few bottles of the spirit of our choice, bung it in a Demijohn with a load of fruit and sugar & leave it there for a few months, giving it a good shake occasionally. You end up with really tasty alcohol, and really tasty fruit. Right now we've got some Raspberry Whiskey, some Blackberry Gin and some Cherry Brandy on the go.
I've made my own larger, it's really easy... don't know about the fancy stuff like Wine though XD I imagine the process is fairly similar... leave it in a steralized bucket with some sugar and away you go?
If you want to try beer for the first time you can just buy some extract, yeast and sugar and yeah it's pretty much straight forward. Make you get a pressurized container mind that way you can let the beer finish brewing the final week or two and then bottle the stuff, this will avoid any manky scum going into the bottle (as well as preventing beer bottle grenades) like someone earlier in the thread experienced.
@thomasnash: Yeah, it's called a "blow-off tube." Same principle as an airlock, but I use them for aggressive fermentation so I don't get my airlock blown out. This IPA used a yeast starter and was going to (and did) take off like a rocket, so a blow-off helped avoid an exploding airlock. And I needed it - it still got all gunked up.